In a reply to an RTI application made by a law student to IT ministry, it was stated that there is no penalty prescribed for individual users of blocked mobile apps such as TikTok, PUBG, CamScanner, UC Browser etc which were blocked by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology citing security concerns.
The Ministry replied,
“Meity does not ban any App. However blocking of specified Apps was done under the provisions of Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 and its Rules namely Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking Access of Information by the Public) Rules, 2009. Section 69A of the Act provides for penalty to intermediaries for non-compliance of the blocking order. However, no penalty is prescribed for individual users of such Apps”.
The following information was sought in application under the Right to Information Act for blocked mobile apps:
1. Provide the provision of law if somebody disobeys the ban imposed on Chinese apps like CamScanner, PubG
2. What is the maximum punishment and penalty which can be imposed on that person.
3. Provide the number of person prosecuted (Till date of reply to RTI application) for violating the said ban on PubG, CamScanner etc.
4. What was the reason of imposing ban on these blocked mobile apps.
On 24 September, 2020 118 more apps were banned (including PubG) under section 69A of the Information Technology Act and the Ministry blocked 43 more apps citing security concerns last month.
“This move will safeguard the interests of crores of Indian mobile users. This decision is a targeted move to ensure safety, security and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace”, the Ministry said.